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Exotic Flowers in Boston

Exotic Flowers - More Than Just a Pretty Arrangement in a Vase

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Feb 20, 2013

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by guest blogger, Evelyn Grant

A Life saving flower, How exotic is that?

Who knew that exotic flowers and plants could stand accused of being bullying invasives? Apparently Japanese honeysuckle is on the long list of escaped exotic plants continuing to live independently in Virginia according to a new book reviewed by The Washington Post. Exotic flowers could be alive and well in a forest near you and they are a lot more interesting than you might think with some unexpected health benefits. Ironically exotic flowers are more likely to bloom because development such as road building disrupts native habitats and practically invites exotics to take up residence. North Virginia and other parts of the Washington area have seen non-native species doubling from 18 percent in 1919 to 36 percent today.

Exotic flower invaders on the at-risk list

Unfortunately many exotic flowers are becoming endangered so you probably won’t encounter many of these in your state’s natural habitat. It’s a shame that some of these flowers are so rare because they are really quite unusual to look at, some might even say ugly, but still a sight to behold. It’s not only how they look that makes them unusual, the Rafflesia for example is said to be remarkably ugly and to smell quite strongly of meat. It’s not all bad though, the black bat flower is very beautiful reaching over 12 inches in diameter but is extremely rare. The dendroseris nerifolia flower is so rare that there is only one left in the world on Robinson Crusoe Island where dozens of rare species exist on the cusp of extinction.


Finding an exotic cure

It is not news that exotic flowers and plants have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Yet it is quite amazing that they are still prevalent in this field despite constant medical advances. The Missouri Botanical Garden works in 35 countries worldwide to protect plants that are potentially invaluable for medicine. They are very much aware of the importance of preventing the extinction of many exotic flowers and plants as they “might be losing a cure for cancer, HIV/AIDS or even the common cold!”. Our British friends who fancy taking in the positives of the outdoors can go for a stroll in their very own Pharmaceutical Garden and then finish off their constitutional with a walk through The Garden of World Medicine. You don’t even have to visit London to feel these benefits because some of the exotic flowers on display are used in drugs across the world. The Catharanthus roseus or Madagascar Periwinkle contains alkaloids used in anti-cancer drugs and the Digitalis lanata or Woolly Foxglove contains a cardiac glycoside used to strengthen the heart beat.

Can you grow your own exotic flowers by invitation only?

You can certainly try according to the exotic flower experts at Kew Gardens in London, and they should know. Apparently you can grow just about anything in a nice warm glasshouse if you try hard enough. Some people aren’t happy just filling their gardens with natives and would rather sweat it out in the temperate environment of a glasshouse and attempt to surround themselves with exotic plants which offer so much in terms of form and colour.

If your gardening skills are not your strong point then you can enjoy exotic flowers and plants from a safer distance with much less work. With exotic flowers forming a large part of the flora in the wild nowadays you never know what you might come across as you leave your garden behind and discover what your local forest has to offer. With many exotic flowers at risk of dying out across the world now is the time to make the most of some of these beautiful and downright strange plants if you are planning any travel overseas.


More than just a pretty arrangement in a vase

Exotic flowers do make for some of the most striking arrangements but they are definitely a lot more interesting than their pretty exterior gives them credit for. It seems unfair to call them a pest in the US but they do sound strangely appealing when referred to as uninvited invaders. These interlopers should be ignored at our peril as they could hold the key to many health problems and potential cures. You may not want to grow your own but they are definitely worth discovering.


Tags: Evelyn Grant, Flower Arrangements, Exotic Flowers, Flower Facts

Beat Winter Blues and Bring Exotic Plants Indoors

Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Jan 08, 2013


January is a month that few gardeners look forward to. Bank accounts are depleted, waistlines stretched to bursting point and the thought of Christmas cheer feels like a distant memory. A glance out the window will do little to lift the spirits, with plummeting temperatures, snow and ice all lined up to give you the winter blues even if everything else fails to.

Twitchy Boston gardeners missing their usual fix can while away the days and weeks gazing out at bare beds, grey skies, ice and snow and picture a string of long dark months stretched out before them. But there is another way, a way to bring light into the darkest of New England winter days.

Exotic plants grown in your home are a wonderful way to fight the winter blues. They bring a colour and vibrancy to cheer even the gloomiest of gardeners and their rich and complex smells will enliven the spirit and brighten your house.

The brilliance of their colours enrich the soul and the challenges they present to the avid gardener are different to the ones faced for the rest of the year, keeping you and your skills sharp and keen.

There are so many varieties of plant and flower that are both exotic and suited to indoor growth during the winter months. But here are just five suggestions to help lift the mood and brighten your home. And remember, spring is already on its way.

Orchid plant in Boston

The Orchid 

What’s not to like? Beautiful, delicate and with a rare and varied explosion of colour that makes it a must-have in any winter home. There are now more than 30,000 pure species of the orchid which mean there is one for almost every set of conditions. They will need to be watered carefully and placed in a position where the sun can bathe them gently for at least a few hours a week, but, despite their frail appearance, they are remarkably hardy and will fight their way through most winters. Pick one and enjoy the uplifting results.

Lemon Tree

Citrus plants make fantastic additions to your winter collection. The smell alone will bring a smile to your face and a reminder of spring and summer aromas. But these are evergreen plants and what is more they flower during the winter months. To get the very best out of them all you have to do is pick the right spot. An ideal place will see them given plenty of sunlight and occasional water. These plants hate too much water but if you can add nutrients you will reap the benefits. Be careful to keep them away from radiators or heaters and if you can do all that you will be in for a treat. Orange trees are also fantastic and although they are not cheap.

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The Kaffir Lily a.k.a. Clivia

This is a beautiful South African plant with spikes of cup-shaped, pink and red flowers. It is from the same family as Amaryllis and will enjoy a bright position out of direct sunlight. If you grow this plant indoors it will bloom delightfully with vibrant colour from the Fall into early winter and should be fed and watered more frequently as the holiday season approaches. The foliage is a sight to behold but it is the beauty of the flowers that will make the difference to even the gloomiest of rooms. A dead cert for a better mood.

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Another extremely attractive plant is the Kalanchoe, which blooms into a series of tiny but eye-catching flowers even in the deepest of winter. Another reason that this plant is such a winter favourite among the exotic crowd is that it is wonderfully low maintenance and easy to look after. Bright clusters of pink, orange or even yellow flowers are a perfect way to bring colour and warmth to your home.

The Christmas Cactus

Another must-have, even beyond the holiday season to which this plant lends its name. They generally reach full bloom in January, just as your spirits are flagging, and burst into life with rich pink or purple red with elongated drooping fuschia-type blooms that will last deep into the winter months. This is another plant that is easy to keep but it does not like cold draughts.

Protect Your Plants

Having decided to brighten your home with some exotic indoor plants, it is vital to protect them with theft on the rise and the risk of disease always something to consider. Many gardeners now choose to insure their investment, in the same way that garden centre insurance has been commonplace for many years, in order to preserve and protect what can amount to a significant investment. A number of companies offer this service and while it might seem unlikely that someone would actually break into your conservatory to steal your most precious plants, a quick Google search will reveal a slew of local newspaper articles reporting exactly that. You have been warned.

by Guest Blogger

Evelyn Grant

Tags: Evelyn Grant, Kalanchoe, Clivia, Gardening in Boston, Orchid Plants

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